Best Beaches Near Orlando

July 6, 2022

Did you know that some of the best beaches in Florida are near Orlando? You know what that means–white sand beaches, clear waters, and sunbathing during your Orlando vacation!

Check out the best beaches near Orlando and discover the unique activities and attractions you can do for a day trip!

There are loads of activities you can add to your Orlando itinerary when you visit some of the best beaches nearby. Take the family to Flagler Beach, for instance. Let the kids explore on beautiful shores as they hunt for sea shells and shark tooths. If you're a NASCAR fan, time your beach trip to Daytona Beach during Daytona 500!

Best Beaches Near Orlando

Cocoa Beach

Distance from Orlando: 59.1 miles. 59 minutes via FL-528 E

Cocoa Beach is one of the closest beaches to Orlando. It's a popular tourist destination for visitors, especially those looking for serene scenery after the hustle and bustle of Orlando's theme parks and attractions. 

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One thing that makes Cocoa Beach unique is its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center. So, if you're lucky, you might be able to see rockets lift off right from the beach. It's a jaw-dropping experience, to say the least.

This barrier island is one of the best Atlantic Coast beaches in Florida, not just because of its clean beach and golden-hued sand. But, Cocoa Beach boasts tons of places and activities to explore, including the Cocoa Beach Pier. It stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic ocean and is brimming with shops, restaurants, and fishing. 

Nearby is the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, the world's largest surf shop and one of the top Cocoa Beach attractions. This 52,000-square feet shop has everything you could need for the beach lifestyle, including bikinis, surfboards, and sports gear. Be sure to grab a sticker!

Cocoa Beach Florida Pier

Daytona Beach

Distance from Orlando: 55.8 miles, 53 minutes via I-4 E

Daytona Beach is best known for its spring break crowds and racing fans. It's home to the world-famous Daytona 500, a 500-mile-long NASCAR Cup Series held annually at the heart of Daytona Beach.

Soccer fans also travel to Daytona Beach for the annual Daytona Soccer Fest. There's world-class soccer, top music performers, and multi-sensory entertainment experiences for the entire family.

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However, there is more to Daytona Beach than race cars, sports fests, and beach bars. Visitors also enjoy free concerts hosted by the Daytona Beach Bandshell during the summer. It features a variety of musical acts complemented by carnival-style games and rides on the boardwalk. 

A day trip to Daytona Beach from Orlando is made up of family-friendly entertainment at any pace. Many choose to spend hours on the boardwalk. Many more engage in outdoor adventures like surfing, parasailing, and kayaking. 

water coastline view of hotel and buildings on a sunny day in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

Canaveral National Seashore

Distance from Orlando: 71.1 miles, 1 hour and 18 minutes via I-4 E and FL-44 E

If you're looking for a pristine underdeveloped shoreline and scenic views, Canaveral National Seashore is a short drive from Orlando and Daytona Beach. 

The National Park Service (NPS) considers Canaveral National Seashore as 'the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida.' It's the kind of place to stroll peacefully along. Feel the hard-packed sands on your feet and the wind gently blowing on your skin.

This immaculate beach is also home to many threatened and endangered species. Chances are you'll be able to spot nesting sites for several thousand protected marine turtles.

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Fun Fact: A portion of the Canaveral National Seashore is a dedicated area for nude sunbathing. The area costs $20 to enter. This is a separate fee on top of the national park's admission.

photo credit: NPS

Clearwater Beach

Distance from Orlando: 108 miles, 1 hour and 48 minutes via I-4 W

White sand. Warm water. And an overload of attractions nearby. Clearwater Beach is one of the best beaches near Orlando.

Clearwater Beach is located along the Gulf Coast. This means sunseekers can find bliss dipping in the gentle Gulf water and building sand castles on the finest, sugary sand. Since the seas are tame, the vibe is relaxed and inviting. It's a blissful experience to stroll, cast a line, or watch pelicans diving into the surf.

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While in the area, check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a state-of-the-art aquarium home to some of the world's most famous dolphins. Meet rescued animals, explore the Dolphintopia exhibit, and take to the seas through the Aquarium's on-water tours.

On your trip to Clearwater Beach, other excursions include Clearwater Beach Adventure with Lunch or Clearwater Beach Deep Sea Fishing Adventure with Lunch.

aerial view of Clearwater Beach in Florida, USA with view of water and shore and palm trees and blue sky with clouds

photo credit: pixabay

Flagler Beach

Distance from Orlando: 76.6 miles, 1 hour and 11 minutes via I-4 E and I-95 N

Looking for the 'best-shelling' beaches near Orlando?

Flagler Beach is arguably the best beach near Orlando for shells. It's no secret that this stretch of sand is known for great shelling and shark tooth hunting. So get to searching and take advantage of this budget-friendly ocean activity that will keep the entire family entertained for hours!

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Can't get enough of Flagler Beach and want to stay as close as possible? We recommend the Best Western Plus Flagler Beach Area Inn & Suites. It's near top attractions for families like the Marineland Dolphin Adventure.  

photo credit: Flagler Beach, Florida via Facebook

New Smyrna Beach

Distance from Orlando: 55.4 miles, 53 minutes via I-4 E and FL–44 E

Surfs up at New Smyrna Beach! Florida's trending beach destination is just about an hour away from Orlando. 

New Smyrna Beach offers some of the finest opportunities to catch some waves on the east coast, thus drawing some of the country's most passionate surfers. Every summer, the American Professional Surfing Association holds one of its premier contests here.

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The star of New Smyrna Beach is its 17-mile stretch of white sandy beaches, but it's also the host of one of the premier beachfront festivals in Florida. If you're in town in June, catch the annual Seaside Fiesta!! The fiesta features live entertainment, carnival games, street food, and more.

photo credit: Visit New Smyrna Beach via Facebook

St. Augustine Beach

Distance from Orlando: 104 miles, 1 hour and 40 minutes via I-4 E and I-95 N

St. Augustine is the epitome of small-town life, but it's got big waves to share with all the tourists passing by!

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The nation's oldest city is home to glittering beach waters and a thriving beachfront community. It takes a bit longer (around 2 hours) to get to St. Augustine Beach, but it's well worth the visit, and we recommend exploring the historic small town while you're there.

St. Augustine Beach is truly one of the best beaches in the Sunshine State. There are sunny accommodations, tropical seaside restaurants, an impressive fishing pier, and a splash park.

If you need lodging, the Best Western St. Augustine Beach Inn is steps away from the pristine sandy beaches of this magical town. You also get a complimentary daily breakfast and access to all the amenities you'd need during your stay.

After lounging on the sand, you can explore the city's historical past and hidden gems. We recommend booking the St. Augustine Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour so you can enjoy an authentic guided tour of the St. Augustine area at your own pace.

Castillo de San Marcos in St Augustine Florida

St. Augustine, Florida, at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

St. Pete Beach

Distance from Orlando: 112 miles, 1 hour and 50 minutes via I-4 W

St. Pete Beach is a quintessential beach town surrounded by pastel-colored buildings and white picket fences. Aerial photos of St. Pete Beach are gorgeous! It's reminiscent of laid-back summer tide days spent with your favorite people at the beach. 

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As per St. Pete Beach's official website, it's 'part low-key haven for aspiring beach bums.' A day at St. Pete Beach consists of perfecting your tan and exploring all the great spots to eat, drink, and shop.

Since St. Pete Beach is located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, you're treated to divine views of the sunrise and sunset each night. We think it's the perfect place to cap off your Orlando vacation.

aerial view of St. Pete Beach with view of shore and buildings in Florida, USA

photo credit: St.Pete Beach, Florida via Facebook

Vero Beach

Distance from Orlando: 105 miles, 1 hour and 40 minutes via Florida's Turnpike and E State Rd 60 E

Vero Beach is a Florida beach town with an irresistible old-school feel. The outdoor vibe and homey infrastructures are a throwback to the early days of coastal landscapes: palm trees, wooden chairs, and miles of open, sandy beaches.

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Being the second most populous city in Indian River County, Vero Beach has adjusted to diverse demands for dining, entertainment, and staycations. As a result, there are tons of beautiful beachside hotels to choose from. Driftwood Resort is an all-time favorite, partly because of its Golden-era look and feel, but mainly because of the rooms' commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean and the sandy beaches, accessible through a private boardwalk.

It's a magical experience to witness baby sea turtles hatch. And Vero Beach is known for the vast sea turtle nests that pop up every summer along its shores and dunes. So with a bit of patience and a whole lot of luck, you'll get treated to hatchlings making their way to the ocean.

shore of Vero Beach with plants in foreground on a sunny day in Florida, USA

photo credit: Vero Beach, Florida via Facebook

Take Your Orlando Outing to the Next Level

There is no doubt that Orlando is a world-class destination for theme park adventures. Of course, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort are must-visits for families, but so are the best beaches near Orlando!

Make it a wholesome vacation with a trip to Cocoa Beach and the world's largest surf shop nearby. Or head to St. Augustine Beach for a relaxing beachside stroll and historical tours. Looking for more things to do in and around Orlando? Get inspiration from our extensive list of Orlando attractions! Rain or shine, indoors or outdoors, you'll never run out of ways to enjoy.

Which is Your Favorite Beach Near Orlando?

Leave us a comment below!


Nicole sitting on rocks with waves in background

Written By Nicole

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely exploring the great o ...

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